Christian Leadership. AG Adult Sunday School Manual
Assemblies Of God Adult Manual

Christian Leadership. AG Adult Sunday School Manual

 

Memory Verse: Galatians 5:25

 

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit_ (KJV).

Central Truth

Disciples of Christ manifest Christlike characteristics.

The Lesson Outline

1. Be Led by the Spirit

A. Listen and Obey

Galatians 5:16–18

B. Roots Produce Fruit
Galatians 5:19-26

2. Stop Sinning
A. Act Like Your Father

1 John 3:1-6
B. Don’t Be Fooled
1 John 3:7-10

3. Love One Another

A. The Great Love of God

1 John 4:7-12

B. Confident Living
1 John 4:13-21

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will
be able to:

1. Understand and demonstrate biblical characteristics of a Christian disciple.

2. Appreciate what it means to be led by the Spirit.

3. Grasp the importance of loving others as part of the lifestyle of the Christian disciples.

Introducing the Lesson

There are clear descriptions in Scripture of what it means to be a
follower of Christ. At the foundation of these descriptions is a close,
personal relationship built on faith in and submission to God. Such a relationship is clearly described in Scripture. The life of a Christian disciple is a life guided by the Holy Spirit, a life that resists and rejects
sin in favour of God’s leading, and a life that is marked by lovo tor God and others. Today’s lesson examines that life from the standpoint of Scripture.

The Holy Scriptures

Galatians 5:16“`This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.“`

1 John 3:2`“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

3. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

5. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

7. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

9. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.“`

Commentary and Application

1. Be Led by the Spirit
A. Listen and Obey

Galatians 5:16–18

All those who love Jesus desire to please Him through the way in which they live. The foundation of such a lifestyle involves walking in the Holy Spirit (rather than fulfilling the desires of the flesh). Paul wrote of this in Galatians 5:16-18. For many Christians, the concept of hearing the Spirit’s voice can be intimidating. They might tend to think that only certain people have that privilege, or that hearing the Spirit means Some kind of great sign or booming voice from heaven.

 

As we look at Scripture, we see that God spoke, and continues to speak, in many ways. Often He spoke through a gentle whisper. So,
we ought to greet the idea that God speaks to us with a sense of peace and anticipation rather than intimidation. Note that Paul said there is a very real battle going on within the hearts of believers. Because we continue to live in this
fallen world, we struggle with our old nature, which wants to do evil (verse 17). Indeed, we are no match for this struggle within ourselves. But we have the great assurance that the Spirit gives us the right desires, and the strength to pursue them. It is a constant struggle, indeed. But with the help of the Spirit, we can follow the voice of the Lord as we are led by Scripture as well as His still, small voice, which guides us in the right direction.

 

Behaviour that is the result of hearing from God is not the same as
living according to man-made rules. Walking in the Spirit is liberating
Christianity is not based on a set of rules and regulations. It is based on a relationship with God.

Questions for Application

Describe a time when you heard from the Holy Spirit._

What is one example of a time when God specifically used Scripture to speak into a situation in your life?_

B. Roots Produce Fruit

Galatians 5:19-26

Certainly, salvation is not rooted in our fruit, but in the grace of God. We must recall, though, that behaviour is a sign of what is going on in the heart of a person. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul listed the works of the flesh, that is, the lifestyle indicators of someone who is Iiving according to sinful desires. If a person is living a lifestyle marked by acts such as sexual immorality, witchcraft, selfish ambition, and divisive words and actions, it is clear that the individual is not in relationship with Jesus. These people will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

It is an equal mistake to say that good behaviour will unite a person with God. Good behaviour, rather, reflects what is going on in the heart of the individual. When people accept Jesus as Saviour, they receive a new, transformed nature.

The new nature, equipped and empowered by the Spirit, allows them to cultivate their spiritual roots through a growing relationship with God. The cultivated roots produce the kind of living that God desires. Christians do not go to heaven because they are good. Rather, because of their relationship with God, their behaviour will be righteous.

 

Moving on to verses 22-26, it is worth noting that the phrase, “the fruit righteous. of the Spirit,” is singular. Paul did not
intend for his readers to select a particular fruit and work on getting better at it. Indeed, our own “work” cannot make us better at producing
fruit. It comes forth as a result of the work of the Spirit in a believer’s life.

 

The ninefold fruit is representative of the type of behaviour that will naturally grow in a Christian’s life as the Spirit works within that individual. The goal for the Christian is to cultivate a godly root
system through ongoing communication with God, walking with Him rather than pursuing the ways and values of the world. When this occurs, people will natural land supernaturally-display love, joy, peace, etc. This is the essence of Jesus’ statement that people will know Christians by their love for one another (see John 13:35).

Cultivating one’s spiritual roots does not occur automatically. Satan desires to entice believers to return to their rotten roots. Christians need to continually say “no” to the flesh and “yes” to the Holy Spirit. This can only happen if we determine to hear and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Questions for Application

How has your behaviour changed as you have matured in Christ?_

How do you cultivate your spiritual root system?_

2. Stop Sinning
A. Act Like Your Father
1 John 3:1-6

Some people say that all people are children of God simply because He created them. But Scripture makes it clear that this notion is false.
In 1 John 3:1-6, John drew a contrast between those who are the children of God and those who are not. Through the sin of Adam and Eve, humanity forfeited a relationship with God. Now we need redemption through Christ to restore that relationship. We become God’s children through salvation, and only God’s children will enjoy eternal life with Him. Living in sin is a reflection of one’s spiritual state. Every human being is either a child of God or a child of the devil (see verse 10).

 

Regardless of what they claim, if people live a sinful lifestyle that disregards God, they are not God’s children because His children will reflect His characteristics. John says that it is impossible to be God’s child and to continue to live in sin. Jesus came to earth to free people from sin.
If the person conveys no evidence of transformation, that person has not embraced the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Questions for Application

What is one predominant characteristic, either physical or behavioural, that you received or learned from your parents?_

What is one predominant characteristic thatyou received or learned as a result of your relationship with your Heavenly Father?_

B. Don’t Be Fooled

 1John 3:7-10

Earlier in John’s first Epistle (1:8-10), he made it clear that a Christian who claims to be sinless is a liar. Christians will struggle and sin on occasion, but the Holy Spirit is faithiui to make the Christian aware of the sin and draw the person to repent. God promises to forgive
those who repent. However, when Christians continue to practise sinful behaviour, ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit, they are not reflecting their relationship with God (3:7-10). When this occurs, Christians will naturally grow cold
toward the Lord. Eventually, this person risks turning away from God entirely, at which point the person can no longer call himselfor herself a Christian.

 

John was dealing with a group of people in the church who attempted to justify sinful behaviour. Even today, some spiritual leaders look the other way when people gossip, live immoral lives, or otherwise follow the ways of sin. False teachers defend their position by arguing that people are saved by faith rather than by right actions. While it is true that we are saved by faith, true faith in Christ will produce right actions on the part of the faithful. The Bible teaches that we must love God with our whole beings. A person’s behaviour will follow his or her belief. Those who teach otherwise appeal to the flesh, which leads to destruction.

 

Some people would not appreciate John’s bluntness, but he was clear that those who live in sin are the offspring of Satan and will spend eternity with him. Those who are the children of God will do what do what is right and love others.

Questions for Application

Questions for Application

Why do you think some people feel drawn to adopt legalism as a way of life, trusting in god works to make them right with God?_

_How would you describe what it means to live a life of freedom in Christ?_

3. Love One Another
A. The Great Love of God

1 John4:7-12

In 1 John 4:7-12, John drew a contrast between a godly person and a person who does not kno God. Those who show love for others are
godly. Those who do not love others make it clear that they do not know God. This may seem harsh, but one cannot be a true reflection of God without loving people, because “God is love” (verse 8). Love is, in a sense, His defining characteristic. Obviously, because we are not God, loving others can be difficult. Not everyone is easy to love. Yet, with God’s help, we can love them anyway.

 

John indicated that only Christians can display true love to others because love comes from God. People who do not know God can offer a type of love, but it is not pure, godly love because its source is fleshly. Godly love compels us to see others as people made in His image.

 

John stated that God showed His love for us through His gift of Jesus Christ, His Son, as the sacrifice for our salvation. Such a gift was given because He loved us, not because we loved Him. Paul described this in his Epistle to Romans: “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8, NLT).

 

Christians, in turn, are called to share the great news of God’s love with those who need to come into relationship with Him. God’s love was
shown to all. While people were still His enemies, Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of love to them. The generosity of God, as seen through sending Jesus to the Earth for our salvation, should be lived out in our Iives regardless of how others treat us, God desires that His followers become beacons of love that will luminate a path toward Him. God expresses His through us as we love those around us.

Questions for Application

What makes God’s love so unique in this world?_

In what ways can Christians demonstrate their love for God and others?_

B. Confident Living

1 John 4:13-21
When people respond to Jesus in faith and become His followers,
God gives them “his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us” (1 John 4:13, NLT). The Spirit reminds the Christian of God’s love, which ought to naturally flow from their lives, and He helps them walk in that love. When a Christian makes aselfish decision, the Holy Spirit will point that out. As Christians live in and practise God’s love, they can rest in the assurance of their salvation (verses 16-17).

 

We may struggle to have love for every person, but as we live for God, our love for Him and for others “grows more perfect” (verse 17, NLT; note that “perfect’ carries a sense of being “complete”). We know that growing in God’s love is one of the greatest joys of living for Him. Just as a child is excited about progress on the growth chart, we can take joy in our spiritual growth as we practise love for others. God’s love also delivers the believer from fear(verses 17-18).

 

 

Perhaps the most common, fundamental human fear is death and the day of judgement. Thankfully, we as Christians can experience freedom from fear. For us, death is the entrance into everlasting life. This does not mean that we can live or act recklessly, tempting death —-and thereby tempting God. But our hope does provide confidence when we face God “because we live like Jesus in this world” (verse 17, NLT).

 

In verses 19-21, John ended this passage by reminding readers that the true test of a Christian’s faith is how they treat others. If believers hold grudges, cause quarrels, or gossip about others, for example, they are not living as followers of God, and they risk wandering away from God in pursuit of their unloving desires.

A lack of love is inconsistent with what it means to be a servant of our supremely loving God. But love for all —-including those we’d rather not love —–bears evidence that our love for God, and commitment to Him, is indeed real.

Questions for Application

_What is your biggest fear, and how can God’s love help you overcome that fear?_

_How can loving others change their lives as well as your own life?_

Call to Discipleship

While our behaviour matters to God, He does not expect us to live godly in our own strength. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and to find victory over temptation. God desires that we love others so that, when they see His followers, they will have an accurate picture of Him. As disciples of Jesus Christ, our behaviour should reflect our Father. If not, we need to cultivate our relationship with Him. The fruit of a godly life will follow.

Ministry in Action

Spend time listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit and purpose to obey and follow as you grow in the Lord. Commit to a deeper study of Scripture, praying that God will use His Word to help you overcome temptation. Find a practical way to demonstrate God’s love to someone in your church or community this week.

 

 

Action Point

PS: I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you could drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.

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